Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Battle of Hastings

The Norman conquest of England was a military invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.

William was a Duke who ruled Normandy, now a region in France. He invaded England after the death of King Edward the Confessor because he believed he had the most right to be King of England. But King Harold II had himself crowned king instead. King Harold, with his Saxon army, and Duke William fought at the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066.

A picture of the Battle of Hastings from the Bayeux Tapestry.

The Battle of Hastings (October 14, 1066) was a pitched battle between the Anglo-Saxon English and an invading Norman army. The day-long battle ended in a decisive victory for the Normans. King Harold was killed in the battle and his army left. On December 25, 1066, William was crowned as King William I of England, 10 weeks after the battle. The Norman conquest was a major turning point in England’s history.

The battle was won but the English still had smaller armies, which had not joined King Harold at Hastings. They had lost their king but were still trying to reorganize. William rested his army for five days before moving towards London. His line of march took him through several towns that he either captured or destroyed. When William reached London the English resisted for a short time but in the end surrendered.

The Battle of Hastings was a major turning point in English history. William’s claim to the throne was strong, and he was able to back it up with force. On Christmas Day in 1066 William was crowned King of England.

Some time later the battle was pictured on a series of panels called the Bayeux Tapestry. His victory at Hastings gave Duke William the nickname he has been known by ever since: ‘William the Conqueror’.

The Norman conquest brought an important change in English history for a number of reasons. The conquest linked England more closely with Continental Europe and made Scandinavian influence less important. It created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe. The conquest changed the English language and culture, and set the stage for rivalry with France, which would continue (with breaks) until the 19th century.

England has never been successfully invaded since the Norman invasion nearly 1000 years ago. 

Most of the Normans came to England at the time of the Norman conquest in 1066. A few Normans had settled in England prior to the conquest. After the conquest the Normans, although few in number, controlled most of England. They built castles to provide protection for their soldiers and held lavish feasts to celebrate holidays such as Christmas and May Day.


13th-century depiction of Rollo and his descendants William I Longsword and Richard I of Normandy
A portion of the Bayeaux tapestry showing the landing of the Normans in England with boats and horses.
Scotland from the Matthew Paris map, c. 1250


(Edited from source one, source two, source three)

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